- Associated Press - Monday, August 2, 2010

PORTLAND, ORE. (AP) - A van carrying two metal bands crashed Monday on Interstate 5, killing a vocalist and injuring two guitarists, police said.

The San Francisco-area bands Early Graves and The Funeral Pyre played a show in Oregon on Sunday and were heading to Nevada when the driver lost control after falling asleep, state police Lt. Gregg Hastings said.

The van rolled over and came to a stop in a grassy area off the freeway.

Makh Daniels, 28, of Pacifica, Calif., died at the scene north of Medford, Hastings said. He was the vocalist for Early Graves, which recently released its second album, “Goner.”

Daniels was ejected from a rear cargo area, where he and two others had been lying down. He was not wearing a seat belt, Hastings said.

The driver was identified as Justin Garcia, 24, a guitarist for The Funeral Pyre. He and a passenger, Early Graves guitarist Tyler Jensen, were taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries not considered life-threatening.

Six other men escaped injury in the van, which was pulling a utility trailer.

Early Graves said on its MySpace page it had been on the road since June 25 in support of its new album, playing gigs from Southern California to New England and then back to the West. The group was scheduled to perform in Reno on Monday.

In press materials announcing the album release, Daniels said he had been through some dark times and writing the lyrics, with themes of loneliness and depression, had been “an exorcism of sorts.”

“Doing this record has been absolutely necessary for all of us in the band,” Daniels said. “And personally, it’s the proudest I’ve ever been of anything I’ve ever done.”


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